Each year, tennis tournaments like the Australian Open bring up countless questions, such as:
Are the grunts necessary?
May I marry Roger Federer… please?
WHO IS THIS 15-YEAR-OLD BEATING VENUS WILLIAMS AND HOW DO I MAKE HER MY FRIEND?
But perhaps most curiously: What’s the deal with the ball boys/girls?
Who are they? What do they do? What are their secrets?
On Saturday, ball kids were brought front and centre when French player Elliot Benchetrit asked a ball girl to peel his banana. Like… literally.
The girl offered him a banana, which yes, he liked very much, but then he asked her to peel it.
The umpire then told him to peel it himself and so true.
Then, on Thursday, a ball kid received a sweet gesture from Rafael Nadal after one of his powerful forehands hit her. After a wide shot from the tennis star stuck her face, Nadal quickly approached the young girl and gave her a peck on the cheek. During the next point, when she was in action, the Melbourne crowd gave her a huge cheer.
*????????????????* ballkid moment, narrated by @RafaelNadal ????
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2020
So what kind of experiences do ball kids have on the court? What are their interactions with the players like?
We spoke to a former ball boy, Jake*, who told us exactly what it’s like to pick up and throw some of the world’s most famous tennis balls.